I scared very easily when I was a kid. I was asked about a book the other day which still inspires total fear in my heart – Struwwelpeter (Straw Peter); just the front cover was enough to have me quaking! I barely remember the stories but I’m not sure I would want to!
I don’t even remember what it was about, but I still refuse to have one in the same house as me. Mum tried to buy a copy a while back – I must have been a teenager already – and I honestly almost wet my pants. This book, supposedly for children, still manages to inspire total fear even though I am twenty-one! These stories are absolutely creepy as all hell – I did some Googling and got scared – I have no idea who decided they were appropriate for kids!
One day, when I was in Year Three, my teacher decided to pick up a picture book for class reading. I’m pretty sure it was Valentine’s Day and that my teacher was wearing a tie with hearts on it – the details we remember in our fear. This book happened to be a version of Frankenstein – complete with grave-robbers and eerie images of Frankenstein stitching up his monster. I didn’t want to admit that I was scared, though when I got home Mum kept asking me why I was so pale. I STILL have not gone back and read Mary Shelley’s classic – although I now know the story and am in fact quite interested, it will always hold that element of fear…..
And then, of course, there were the Goosebumps series. The horsey stories (which I loved) at my primary school library were very close to these horrifying covers – I always ran, averting my eyes, trying not to think about the terrors enclosed in their pages. Even today, I cower when I see them in a bookshop – what kind of child think these look like a great idea??
I barely read horror at all! What I do read of this genre, I generally don’t recognise as horror before starting. And I am pretty sure it all links back to these three books and my experiences of them as a child. Are there any books you remember from your childhood which have affected your reading habits today? Are there any stories you refuse to touch now because of a bad experience as a kid?